Alice Jennings Archibald mural unveiled in New Brunswick

The local arts organization coLAB Arts has created a mural series in Alice Jennings Archibald Park in New Brunswick. The work celebrates the legacy of Mrs. Archibald in relation to the students of McKinley Community School. The mural draws inspiration from Mrs. Archibald’s motto: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Designed by local artist RH Doaz, the mural aims to convey Mrs. Archibald’s values: educational rigor, community service, and social justice.

The Scarlet and Black Project provided research support for the mural series through our archival digitization project in collaboration with the Mount Zion AME Church of New Brunswick. We invite you to explore the new digital collection Alice Jennings Archibald History Library Records (Mount Zion AME Church of New Brunswick) to learn more about Mrs. Archibald’s life.

Alice Jennings Archibald mural unveiling flyer coLAB Arts

On January 29, 2021, coLAB Arts and the City of New Brunswick held a virtual unveiling of the new mural series, with Scarlet and Black Postdoctoral Associate Alexandria Russell participating as one of the speakers. The event was streamed live on Facebook, and you can view the video recording. The event includes oral history content speaking to the life of Alice Jennings Archibald from the point of view of her family and an interview with the artist, RH Doaz.

Check out the local press coverage of the new mural:

Will Power Student Retention Scholarship webinar at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center – Jan. 12, 2021

In 2017, the Will Power Student Retention Scholarship was created to help address the financial element that impacts student retention, particularly for black male students. Since then, alumni and friends have come together to help award over two dozen students. Join the Paul Robeson Cultural Center to hear the impact this fund has had on student awardees and the future of this initiative from Jakora Holman RC’07, PRCC Director, and lead alumni supporter, Frank McClellan RC’67.

When: Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Click here to register

This fund was named after an enslaved man, known only as Will, who helped lay the foundation for the Old Queens building in the fall of 1808. Today, Old Queens houses some of the university’s most prestigious offices including the Office of the Chancellor. The Scarlet and Black Project uncovered Will’s story. 

Just as Will, and countless unnamed enslaved people, laid the foundation for this University, the Will Power Retention Fund helps ensure that promising Rutgers students are able to attain the degree that will provide the foundation for future success.

Video: Rutgers dedicates Will’s Way, Sojourner Truth Apartments, and James Dickson Carr Library

On October 26, 2017, Rutgers University–New Brunswick dedicated Will’s Way, the Sojourner Truth Apartments and the James Dickson Carr Library to honor an enslaved man, a renowned abolitionist and Rutgers’ first black graduate.

Watch the dedication event recorded by RU-tv:

For more about the dedication events, check out today’s article by Neal Buccino: Newly Named Campus Landmarks Honor African Americans Linked to Rutgers History.

Video: Scarlet and Black event—presenting our findings about slavery and dispossession in Rutgers history

On November 18, 2016, the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History presented its findings to the university community at an event held at the College Avenue Student Center. The event was livestreamed by Rutgers iTV Studio, and you can view the recording below:

Message from Chancellor Edwards about the event:

A year ago, I wrote to all of you announcing that the university would embark on an exploration of its early history, specifically examining to what extent our early trustees and benefactors were involved in slavery, how Rutgers came to inhabit land that once belonged to local Native American tribes and how our institution may have benefited from these realities. To achieve a fuller understanding of this aspect of our early history, I created the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, which has been chaired by Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History Deborah Gray White and composed of faculty, students and staff.

I am pleased to announce that Professor White and her committee have delivered on my charge and will present their findings in an event entitled “Scarlet and Black” that will take place on Friday, November 18 from 4 to 6 p.m., at the College Avenue Student Center Multipurpose Room. A reception will follow in the adjacent Fireside Lounge. Please register for the event by emailing

The committee’s work has been published by the Rutgers University Press in a book, Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History. The book is co-edited by Professor White and Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and History Marisa Fuentes, and major contributors include undergraduate and graduate students, as well as university faculty and staff. The work roughly spans the 100 years from the founding of Queen’s College in 1766 to the designation of Rutgers College as a Land-Grant institution in 1862.

It is my sincere hope that you will join me on Friday for this important event, one that continues our pursuit of knowledge and a fuller understanding of the university we hold so dear.


Richard L. Edwards, Chancellor
Rutgers University–New Brunswick